What does Google TV hold for the future of search?
Web TV has been touted in various guises for years now but Google has been trying to make it something of a mainstream reality since 2010. Its life started when Google teamed up with Intel, Sony and Logitech to develop a Smarter TV experience. Since then Samsung, LG and Vizio have come on board.
It’s not about the hardware providers but the software that is being integrated from Google’s own inventory of tools including Play, Chrome and Youtube.
Streaming entertainment content is a big selling point for Google TV. Users receive programmes but also access to apps that you can interact on through their TV sets. Developer APIs have been released for potential developers to createspecific Google TV content.
What would be the implications to the way UK users digest onscreen TV content and what would the future hold for Search in general?
The service’s real value comes from the fact that Google can serve ads that it thinks you may like – a Holy Grail for marketers that Google reckons it’s cracked. Rather than vying for space on certain programming scheduling in the hope that the demographic is watching, Google TV intelligently works out what ads a viewer may want to see based on their activity recorded on theirGoogle TV account. Privacy concerns aside, it’s the next logical step for TV.
Imagine yourself tuning into a cookery programme and being offered a recipe for roast chicken and then being offered specific ads from supermarket for food to side dishes related to the recipe you justwatched. This is only one of the scenarios that Google TV can offer.
Content will be the top priority for the new platform and Google is hoping that developers get on board to help create quality content. A different experience to watching TV then it is to be pointing and clicking at your desktop, content should be tailored accordingly to display text and video. It’s even more unlikely for a person to sit back on a couch and read reams of text on the screen. It can be bad enough presented with that format on monitor so why offer the same for TV screen? The chances are that textual content will be fed back to the user using audio voice synthesis much like SIRI are a real possibility. The TV experience is different from a desktop monitor so content developers must be mindful websites’ layout and colour. GoogleTV has released its own optimisation guidelines found here to help out designers.
Google TV also interacts with mobile/tablets and desktop/laptop instructions that offer much more opportunities with the TV. These second screen devices are almost always present in the typical livingroom situation and the ability to “pair off” devices with your TV adding a further dimension to interaction which is unique to the Google TV experience. It’s possible to send content to your Google TV via a laptop or other secondary device. For a marketer, this offers different possibilities for giving alternative content to the user, for example imagine the scenario where the a brand website on a laptop allows exclusive content to be viewed on Google TV only. Also, a brand search query could offer a number of different results specific for Google TV when viewed on a second screen and then content could be transferred onto the TV.
Brands that have used the Smart TV functionality have included Coke – users are able to interact with the Coke Polar Bears whilst they responded to messages sent on social networks platforms.
Google TV focuses heavily on personalisation with content specifically shown so that it is tailored to your past viewing. So if you happen to watch a certain movie star more often, Google TV will adapt to your preference and show more films in which he or she has starred in. Brands will have to ensure that content can stand out enough to make sure that it is seen multiple times. Advertisers would want to ensure that their ads appearnext to these search queries to sell in memorabilia based around user preferences. With TV being a visual medium, good old-fashioned text content may indeed be a thing of the past that will certainly impact SEO that relies ontext to gain relevancy. Technologies such as Flash may see resurgence in popularity as brands prefer the whizzy effects associated to make sure thattheir stands out. Again, this will impact visibility of sites to search engines.
The success of Google TV will depend largely on its ease-of-use and how ordinary consumers will perceive the proposition here in the UK. Google hasfailed spectacularly in the past when launching products and services. The Smart TV project hasn’t gone by without its hitches (the withdrawal of Logitech, an original partner cited substantial losses as the reason for leaving the project.) The take up of wireless and HD televisions will also affect the overall take up numbers – the UK population has around 1m interactive readyTVs; a drop in the ocean compared to how many regular TVs are out there. Who knows how many of that 1m actively use the TV instead of say a tablet to view online content? Google has a lot riding on the project, mainly because it offers another potentially lucrative route into selling sponsored advertising as well as propagating Google’s own Android platform.
David Chung is Senior SEO Strategist at iProspect.